HQ: New York City
Founders: Jesse Solomon and Alex Rabens
The problem: International manufacturers are a critical part of the global supply chain. To produce finished consumer products, international manufacturers need to purchase commodities and raw materials like lumber. Many of those raw materials are produced in the United States. Today, there is no technology to empower a supplier in the U.S. — a lumber producer in Oregon, for example — to sell its raw materials directly to an international manufacturer in Asia. Instead, raw materials suppliers are left navigating an opaque, international ecosystem of brokers, logistics providers, and aggregators. International agreements to purchase raw materials from suppliers in the U.S. are often struck through a complicated, burdensome process managed by third-party brokers, at a detriment to both the supplier and the manufacturer.
Mickey’s solution: Mickey offers a B2B e-commerce marketplace for the buying and selling of raw materials. Through its digital platform, Mickey connects suppliers of raw materials with buyers, while also managing logistics like freight bookings and payments. Manufacturers can place an order for a shipment of raw materials in just a few clicks. Suppliers can sell their materials directly to buyers. Mickey also bundles all of the required infrastructure for international trade, from insurance to financing, the automation of a complicated document flow, and even the navigation of international compliance procedures into a simple and digital product.
Origin story: Jesse Solomon and Alex Rabens met and became business partners while working in the media industry. Through their experience striking international licensing deals for clients, Solomon and Rabens were exposed to the level of complexity in international business. Natural entrepreneurs, they explored the problem space and found the sector with the greatest complexity: commodities. Both saw the opportunity for a marketplace to solve the problem.
Why we’re betting on it: We think of Mickey a bit like a reverse Alibaba. While Alibaba is an international B2B marketplace focused predominantly on manufactured products from Asian suppliers, Mickey is an international B2B marketplace focused primarily on raw materials coming from North America. Today, there is no easy way for an independent lumber producer in Oregon to reach a buyer in Asia. Through its global B2B marketplace, Mickey is solving matching, transacting and exporting for raw materials producers in the U.S.. The founders are incredibly ambitious, and we believe Mickey has the opportunity to help modernize global trade.
Our take: We believe we’re reaching an inflection point where large B2B commerce economies will be brought online. We’ve invested in other B2B marketplaces like Transfix, which matches shippers with Carriers, and Inturn, a marketplace for managing overstock inventory. In the commodities space, we think there’s an opportunity for technology to remove the pain points from buying and selling internationally.
Further reading: “Mickey Raises $10MM and Launches Platform to Wipe Out the Global Trade Crisis” via Yahoo Finance.
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